Today you are nine years old. It has been nine years of ups and downs, laughter and tears, fun and hard work. Through it all, you have stayed consistently you: sweet, funny, active, silly, and full of life.
You seem to have started to find your stride in school this year, and Dad and I are so proud. Your grades aren't as important to us as your effort, and you're working hard to be the best Lottie you can be. You still love the social aspect of school far more than the academics, but you are slowly finding a balance.
One of the many things I love about you is your "Little Mama" persona: you want to take care of everyone and everything. You're always organizing family movie nights or games with kids in the neighborhood, and you're becoming more independent at home. You want to do as much as you can yourself, and when you don't know how to do something, you're not afraid to ask. When we're out shopping, you're the first to ask a store employee where something is, and you always tell restaurant servers about Dallas's dairy allergy before I can even open my mouth. There is a certain look you give me when you obviously don't believe a word I am saying, especially when it comes to taking care of the house or the family. I'm pretty sure you are thinking that I don't know anything and you could do it all better, and it makes me laugh every time. You are quick to get upset, but you're quicker to forgive. You're willing to give other people the benefit of the doubt even if they have hurt you before, and that is a big part of who you are.
Your relationship with Dallas is about the same as always: love or hate. at any given moment. Usually, though, you both get along well. He feels smothered sometimes when you try to be his mom, but in the end, all is forgiven. My favorite thing to do is listen to your conversations because they are serious and funny all at the same time. You will deny it, but I know you like to do things together. He is an important part of your life, and I hope it always stays that way.
You have a huge sense of curiosity and willingness to try new things. We're always looking for new activities to keep you active and interested. So far, gymnastics is your favorite, but you have also tried ballet, swimming, cooking, and taekwondo. I keep trying to get you to take drama classes because we ALL know that would be a perfect fit. So far, you have resisted, but maybe you will change your mind one day. You make the entire world your stage as it is, but I don't think you have any idea how entertaining you really are.
The last year has been an interesting dichotomy: you are becoming more independent but also staying a little girl. I love that you are following your instincts not to grow up too quickly. Yes, you ask me for a cell phone on the daily and you talk about getting your driver's license at least once a week, but you play with your dolls at home and you are loath to dispose of any stuffed animal from your ever-growing collection. You really love to play with makeup, often begging me for mascara, but you also beg for new footie pajamas. You like what you like, and I admire how unapologetic you are about it all. Stick with that throughout your life, and you'll be happy.
Sometimes I worry about you because you wear your heart on your sleeve. All I have to do is look at you to know how you are feeling. I never want you to be hurt, but logically, I know it's going to happen. No matter what happens, never forget what an amazing, kind, and generous person you are. Not everyone will be worthy of all you have to offer, but I hope you don't ever lose your sweet spirit.
I'll let you in on a little secret here: because you are the first-born, Dad and I don't always know exactly what we're doing as parents. You're sort of our experiment, and we do the best we can. I know that you think we have it all together, or maybe you don't, but you have been patient as we all learn together how to navigate the waters of parenting you and Dal. Thank you for understanding that anything we do is done out of love and wanting the very best for you and our family. Thank you for being YOU, our baby, our love, our pumpkin pie, our wacky and snuggly Lottie Lou.
You make my heart burst with pride and joy every day,